While lack of knowledge and industry jargon may hinder business owners from upgrading accounting software, fear of the transition period seems to ignite the most fear. Researching new tools and systems to fix specific problems can be easy—even fun—but when it comes to actually implementing software, the process becomes tedious, time-consuming, and incredibly stressful. There is no magic key to a seamless system switch, and there will inevitably be a learning curve once the product is installed. However, there are a few tips business owners and accountants can employ to make the process easier. Here are the most effective.
- Choose a definite cut-off date. Choosing a suitable date to have your transition finalized will set a timeline. In most cases, you should switch software around a reporting time that makes sense for you—typically at the end of an accounting quarter or year. Make sure to give yourself enough time for the transition—anything from a few weeks to a couple of months.
- Tidy up your current/previous system. Bad data is one of the biggest causes for headaches when you switch to a new system. If you know there are inaccuracies in your books, bad transaction coding, or disorganized invoices, you need to fix them before moving over. Trying to start fresh without this step is a huge mistake—even the best software will feel useless of your data is bad.
- Get your old system to match your tax return. Run a trial balance in your old system as your last financial year and, then compare it to your tax return for the same date. If there are differences, fix them. If you don’t do this, you could end up with incongruous records, which could be a huge problem in the future.
- Decide which data you’re importing from the old system. Once your data looks good, it’s time to bring it into the new system. Before doing so, figure out what you need to bring as well as the order in which you need to bring it. Start with your chart accounts, then your contacts, then move into your inventory lists and other virtual items.